|Birding Areas in and around Altos del Maria
|The Altos del Maria area
Altos del Maria is located in the mountains of central Panama. It is a gated community and access is limited to residents and their guests.
For more information contact: Alfred
The lower Valley of Altos del Maria: Altitude between 550m and 700m. The valley is divided by the Maria river. The south side of the lower valley is dryer than
the north side.
There are lots of Orange-chinned Parakeets on the south side of the valley.
Along the Maria river is a beautiful walk, about 4km long, the river can be noisy at
times and few birds can be heard. The Louisiana Waterthrush was seen there.
The north side of the valley gets a bit more rain in the dry season and therefore it
has a mature secondary growth forest. Birding is excellent throughout the year.
The bird list around CASA ALGITA which is located in the Toscana area on
the northside of the valley at 650m, stands at over 150 species. Good birds seen
in the garden are: Rosy-thrush Tanager, Lance-tailed Manakin, Black-headed
Tody-Flycatcher, White-vented Plumeleteer, Masked Tityra, Piatic Flycatcher,
Blue-crowned Motmot, Common Potoo, Mottled Owl and many more.
There are two higher elevation areas in Altos del Maria, one is on the south side
of the valley and the other on the north side. The area on the south side has a
connecting road to El Valle which is easy passable in the dry season with a 4x4
car. Both higher elevation areas go up to 1100m and have excellent virgin rain
forests, often in the fog and at times windy on exposed ridges. Birding is excellent
at any time of the year.
Good birds seen are: Black-faced Grossbeak, White-vented Euphonia, Shining
Honeycreeper, Pale-vented Thrush, Ochraceous Wren, Thrush-like Schiffornis,
White-throated Spadebill, Black-crowned Antpitta, Brown-billed Scythbill,
Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Red-faced Spinetail, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet,
Blue-throated Toucanet, Orange-billed Trogan, Elegant Euphonia, Snowcap,
Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, Purplish backed Quail-Dove and many more.
El Valle de Anton (left picture)
El Valle has a geologically unique setting, it's nestled in
the second largest volcano crater in the world. A five by
three mile crater was created when a volcano blew its
top off five million years ago. The result was a lovely
valley surrounded by jagged mountain peaks and rich
volcanic soil that gives way to flowers and verdant forest .
El Valle also boasts a near perfect year round spring
There are lots of different types of accommodations
Birding is similar to Altos del Maria.
How To Get There:
El Valle is located about 2 hours from the Bridge of the
Americas. Once you drive about 60 minutes just past
the town of San Carlos, turn right and go up the
mountain road for about 30 minutes until you descend
into the valley of El Valle.
The road to El Valle is in excellent condition.
There is also a road from Altos del Maria to El Valle,
which is paved, but steep and a 4x4 is required. The
road is open all year (only for residents and guests
of Altos del Maria)
Campana National Park:
This is another beautiful National Park within 40 min from Altos del Maria, worthwhile visiting.
The Punta Chame peninsula can be reached in
40 minutes from Altos del Maria. Half way out on
the road to the peninsula are lagoons which are
excellent for shorebirds and herons.
At the beaches of Punta Chame you can see
very large flocks of terns during the winter
months, shorebirds on the mud flats, herons
and over the ocean look out for boobies.
Gamboa, Pipeline Road and surrounding area:
Gamboa is the best area for birding in the low land tropical rain forest, just 30 min from Panama or 90 min from Altos del Maria.
The well known Pipeline Road starts just outside Gamboa and the newly built Panama Rainforest Discovery Center has a 40 m high viewing tower
where you can observe the birds from various platforms. This is a must visit if you are in Panama.
Other good birding spots are: Old Gamboa Road, Summit Pond, Summit Garden and the El Charco Trail.
The Achiote Road is an excellent place to see many Caribbean slope birds, easy to reach from Gamboa on a day trip.
Accommodation in Gamboa:
Ivan's Bed and Breakfast is an outstanding
family run B&B at reasonable rates.
Go to: http://www.gamboaecotours.com/
El Cope National Park:
To access this park drive 17km past Penonome, then turn
right and drive 26 km to the village of El Cope.
The park is a short distance up the mountain. It has
extensive forest up to an elevation of 1300m.
There is a basic hotel available in the village of El Cope.